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Photos of trapped miners will be available

Photos of trapped miners will be available

Photographs of the miners trapped underground at the Pike River coal mine will be made available by families who choose to do so for police to publicly release. This may not happen until later today.

As photographs became available they will be posted on the police website: www.police.govt.nz.

Superintendent Gary Knowles, Tasman Police District Commander, said drilling of the bore-hole started last night at 6.30pm. At 11.00 am drilling had reached 110 metres. Drilling will slow as it approaches target depth of 160 metres.

The Department of Conservation has agreed to allow a track to be cut in the Paparoa Ranges through to the air vent at the top of the hill. Three track cutting gangs have been deployed on the 2.7km track.

The operations team is assessing how a fibre-optic cable can be put in place and laid to the top of the hill so that a camera can be installed to permanently monitor the vent.

An army robot is on site. This may be used if safe to access the portal up to the point where the loader is blocking entry.

Police, mine staff and OSH experts here have been speaking with mine experts in West Virginia who globally have the most recent experience of dealing with this type of situation. At this point they have concurred with the action taken at Pike River.

Half hourly tests have been carried out overnight. The dip test readings have not improved and the experts have advised us that the tests indicate the combustion now includes coal.

An RNZAF Iroquois arrived in Greymouth overnight. This gives an enhanced winching and night vision capability to assist us with accessing the areas specialists need to get to.

A further media conference will be held late this afternoon - the time to be advised.

ENDS

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